Category Archives: Takeaway

SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – What Cats can teach us about Excellent Customer Service

What Cats can teach us about Excellent Customer Service

Presented by: Miranda Carney-Morris, Julio Appling, and Elizabeth Young (Lewis and Clark College)

An interactive workshop where various archetypes of cats were explained and how they related to typical support user types. A participant activity followed in which attendees creatively devised solutions to herd (and best support) these types of cats/customers.

Cats and Customer Service Panelists

Read the paper in the ACM Digital Library

Review the slides in Sched 


Customer types are diverse as cat breeds. Providing flexible and effective support is an art! Meow, meow, meow!

SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – A Career in Organized Anarchy

A Career in Organized Anarchy: Building Interpersonal Relationships in Higher Education

Presented by: Matthew House (Washington University in St Louis)

Understanding the university as an organization can help you build relationships with others on your campus. Relationships can help foster trust and engagement, gain commitment and backing, and help you get timely and accurate information.

There are four different models of higher education institution; knowing the type of institution that you work at can help you build those relationships. The four models are: collegial, bureaucratic, political, and anarchical. Also, know your institution’s Carnegie classification. This can help you navigate the rough waters of relationship building.

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SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – Investing in your Training Portfolio: diversifying Training Methods

Investing in your Training Portfolio: diversifying Training Methods

Presented by: Winnie Ling Luper, William Olsen (Rutgers University))

Winnie Ling LuperIn this presentation, Winnie and William covered their entire student training program in depth and talked about how they used for the presentation. This session covered their student evaluation, feedback and improvement process.

Student training included some cool gamification ideas. Student leaders were tasked with coming up with gaming themes for training. Some examples include Consultant Ninja Warrior, Who wants to be a Consultant, and The ARC Amazing Race. Training also includes a number of hands-on activities, like building a computer and raspberry pi. They seem to have a great training program with a very small teacher to student ratio (no more than 7 students per class).

This session also covered their consultant review process. Each student supervisor has 7 consultants.

Read the paper on the ACM Digital Library

Review the slides on Sched


Exciting perspective on training student employees with many examples that could be used by anyone even smaller schools. – Tim Foley

SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – Navigating your Path to Leadership

Navigating your Path to Leadership

Presented by: David Weil (Ithaca College), Beth Rugg (University of North Carolina, Charlotte), Terry Ruger (Ithaca College)

What a phenomenal group of presenters who shared with us how to prepare for advancing up the career ladder. They reminded us that advancing up that ladder is about people and vision and less about technology. Mid-level management is not about being better at technology.

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SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – Anatomy of a Career Coaching Session

Anatomy of a Career Coaching Session

Presented by: Diana Sadlouskos (Sadlouskos Consulting)

Diane Anatomy of a Career Coaching SessionDiana Sadlouskos, a career coach, provided us an inside look at a career coaching session by showcasing her process with a SIGUCCS attendee. Some of her advice included:

  • Identify the job(s) that you are interested in
  • Update your application materials to apply specifically to that job
    • Cover letter
    • Resume
  • Prepare for interviews
    • Create an interview prep document/matrix
    • Develop a career notebook
    • Create your 2-3 minute introduction
  • Plan for your next steps

Review the slides on Sched


Your resume should be built upon the themes of the job for which you are applying. Highlight the skills that are being requested in that new position. Be sure that your resume and cover letter tell your story and tell it well. – Lisa Brown

What a fantastic opportunity to see what happens in career coaching sessions. I learned that each time you apply for a job, your application materials must be recreated to apply toward the credentials sought. – Laurie Fox

SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – The “I” in Team

The “I” in Team: How developing individual strength builds a great team

Presented by: Tom Wilk (Carnegie Mellon University)
Tom Wilk

Managers face three types of employees on their teams: struggler, “average Joe”, and rock star. Each type requires a different management strategy. Managers need to set SMART goals and document progress as part of performance management (don’t just tell them to do better). Tom uses 1-1 meetings with agendas, performance appraisals, coaching, shared documents, and other tools to assist him in building a team.

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SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – Best Practices for Small Group Communications

Best Practices for Small Groups Communication and Efficiency

Presented by: Ella Tschopik, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Ella Tschopik

Ella gave us some great ways to run meetings and tied in a few workshop-like activities in this presentation. Her presentation immediately followed the opening keynote where we were reminded that the most important skills that a student can learn in college are the soft skills, like communication. Ella’s presentation was a great way to start the conference!

As part of this presentation we learned some best practices for successful meetings, including identifying individual behaviors during group communication. One of the group activities was about observing these in action. We were challenged with answering questions that were clearly opinion answers. It was great to see how we were able to apply some of the tools Ella spoke about during the presentation.

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SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – What’s Your Story

What’s Your Story: Creating a Narrative for Training

Presented by: Casey Davis, Arizona State University

Getting participants, let alone instructional designers, excited and engaged about creating and facilitating training for faculty and staff is a challenge. Instead of leading with required number of training and looking at average attendance, start with a story. Humans are hardwired for stories. We all want to be the hero, or work alongside the hero of the story.

During the session, Casey asked us to flip our traditional understanding of training (content is king) and instead focus more on the human aspect – the story behind what we are doing and why. This helps us connect better with our learners for more effective results, and align our training with the overall operations and function of our larger IT teams.

Read the paper at:


I’m getting ready to embark on a MAJOR training initiative where I’ll be creating everything from scratch, so I was very much in the mindset of CONTENT FIRST. This presentation gave me ideas about how to make my upcoming trainings more relatable and appealing to the learner by turning my focus to a STORY, rather than just the dry how-tos of a new software product. – Becky Cowin

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – Big IT Projects and No Staff

Big IT Projects and No Staff: How to build and activate a campus community

Presented by: Brennan Atchison and Amanda  Johnson, University of Minnesota Duluth

Challenge Accepted TurtleThe University of Minnesota Duluth made the decision to transition the majority of its websites into Drupal, a content management system (CMS). Additionally, during the process the university’s website underwent a complete redesign as well as a content overhaul. Prior to the move to Drupal, there were few technical, design, or brand standards being enforced; each department or unit took its own unique approach to web design, development, and maintenance. Tight budgets meant that there were no staff available to commit full time to the project. The historical approach of letting units manage their websites however they wished also meant a huge cultural shift for members of the campus community. In this paper, we will address how through the formation of user and technical groups, we built trust, harnessed technical expertise, addressed bugs and feature requests, created training opportunities, developed documentation, provided viable channels for feedback, and successfully united a previously fragmented campus community to successfully get the job done.

Read the paper at:

Slides available at:


This presentation was a shining example of effectively using various disciplines—e.g., organizational, motivational, collaborative, and agile—and succeeding despite resource constraints. Many institutions are asked to do more with fewer resources, yet Brennan and Mandie showed us that it is possible to deliver by doing more outreach, listening to our constituents, and developing a project plan which allowed for both customer feedback and regular, iterative changes. This was a good “No Money, No Problems” case study. – Mo Nishiyama

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – You Know You Want to Read This

You Know You Want to Read This: Communicating Effectively in Tech Support

Presented by: Robert H. Guissanie, Bucknell University

Robert GuissanieRob provided some tips on effective communication for an IT department which start with common sense:  be clear and concise, make sure it is relevant and meaningful, provide timely information, and do it in a respectful way. However, once the presentation started, you knew that good communication strategy was more than that…

This session reminded us to take into account the amount and types of messaging that you do. For instance, Bucknell has a message center that is used for informational messaging – for example, at the start of Cybersecurity month, an email will go out to welcome people but direct them to future weekly messages in the message center. Rob also makes use of targeted email lists so that people are not getting messages about things that are not relevant to them. He also infuses some humor into messages when appropriate so as to gain and keep people’s attention – dry and formal messaging will lead to “skim reading”.

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Slides available at:


One main takeaway from this presentation is to remember that while we work in technology, we deal with and support people. The product that we produce (students) is more important than any other industry. Remembering this as we deal with messages in both good and bad situations is paramount to our success! – Lisa Brown